Even now, so fierce is Williams' on-court persona, she would have you believe that she was totally consumed by the prospect of winning. Kerber's resilience and consistency versus Jelena Ostapenko's capricious ways, a maddening mix of brilliance and error that has shaped a career of highs and lows, of unexpected victories and even more unforeseen defeats.
The 25th-seeded player expressed her sadness over missing Olympia's first steps.
After withdrawing from her fourth-round match at the French Open with a pectoral injury last month, Williams' serve has been a potent weapon this tournament.
That Serena, who is among the grittiest and most mentally strong player on tour, has such thoughts and overcomes them, speaks volumes about her determination to compete.
The German attacked the biggest chink in Ostapenko's armour - her second serve, which is weak and ineffectual.
"The noises she makes are ferocious".
She is by far the most unsafe player the American has faced so far this fortnight and is on something of a comeback trail herself after a slump in 2017. But Kerber settled that niggle with an ace and went on to hold.
The left-handed Kerber was mainly a passive participant in the early going against Ostapenko. "She's trying to go faster than her body will allow her to go".
Still, though, you should be able to count her out when she's coming back from childbirth, when she's played only a handful of matches in 16 months, and when she's not that far removed from what she described on Thursday as being unable to walk to her mailbox.
The 11th seed saved a break point in game six before breaking the Latvian's serve in the next game.
The statistics told the story. Against Naomi Osaka in the third round, she cracked 23 winners to 5 unforced errors, unsettling the youngster with her aggression. I know that I have to do it in the first few shots, to be aggressive, to bring a lot of balls back. That first game consisted of eight points: Three were unforced errors by Ostapenko, including a double-fault to begin the proceedings; the other five were winners by her, including a 100 miles per hour ace to close the hold. But there is no statistic fantastic enough to convey the implausibility of the outcome - a 6-2, 6-4 win over Goerges that at once felt predetermined, yet unthinkable just a short time ago. The Australian's 24 singles majors remains a record, with Williams one behind.
Williams' match against Goerges was even until 2-all, 30-all. Whatever the outcome, Williams has proved yet again that she has the will and drive to return to the fore. That is the kind of mistake Kerber can not afford to make again Saturday, when she faces Williams for the eighth time in her career, and only the second time on grass.
Kerber and Williams will clash in a sequel to their 2016 championship decider after both former world No.1s completed stirring comebacks to the grand slam final stage with one-sided semi-final wins.
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